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Thread: Is it possible to launch apps from external storage?

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I've read now on multiple sources that it is possible to connect external storage to the jailbroken iPad, but is it possible to store apps on the external storage and
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  1. #1
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    Question Is it possible to launch apps from external storage?
    I've read now on multiple sources that it is possible to connect external storage to the jailbroken iPad, but is it possible to store apps on the external storage and launch them from there via symbolic links lets say? 'Cause this is the main concern I'd say - after all I can play all those videos and watch photos over local wi-fi connection. Apps are problem however, as the bundled storage is not enough to store all that I need.

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    UPDATE... Working solutions on post #9 and #10

    Hi, interesting idea, yes it does seem to work. I have an iPad 2 on iOS6.1 with a SD card adaptor.
    First install your game as usual. I tried Infinity Blade, Cro-Mag Rally, Myst and Where's my Water.
    Find where it is saved. Use AppLinks or IconTool etc.
    With iFile copy the game's folder to your SD card then delete the original. (The long hexadecimal named folder)
    Then copy the game's folder on your SD card and paste a shortcut (create Link) back where the original game came from in /var/mobile/Applications/
    The game should now run ok.
    Issues... Eject the SD card using iFile before removing it. If you can't eject the SD try closing the game and the photo app. If you still get an eject or unmount error, then turn the iPad off first before removing the SD card.
    If your iPad is low on memory, you may want to turn off the iFile's Trash can first before deleting any large games from memory or the SD card! This is also handy if you want to speed up deleting from the SD card.
    The game icon will disappear at some point after removing the SD card. To get the icon back, after reinserting the SD card, I will usually check with iFile to see if the SD card has mounted ok. Then goto settings, general, usage and scroll down the list of apps. You will find the apps on your SD card are listed there but are either blank or have no text. click on them to see the apps info and then respring. If they aren't there, using iFile, copy and paste any file to the SD card and try again.
    Some games may not work as you can not set the folder/file Ownership or permissions on the SD card with iFile. Out of the four games I have tried so far, Infinity Blade, Cro-Mag Rally and Myst worked, but Where's my Water didn't.

    Backup note...
    With these symbolic links in the /var/mobile/Applications/ folder, iCloud or iTunes backups will fail!
    The way around this is to take your SD card out, refresh the Applications folder and scroll to the bottom where all your game links will be (in blue), select them all and zip them to say SDgames.zip
    Now delete your game links and backing up will work fine.
    (if they won't delete, empty the trash can)
    Unzipping SDgames.zip will put your game links back. I would suggest leaving SDgames.zip there for next time when you want to backup.
    Last edited by DC_Dave; 02-26-2014 at 09:15 AM.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to DC_Dave For This Useful Post:

    jayarjo (08-03-2013)

  4. #3
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    I see you did quite a research there. If it works in one way or another one could create a special app I guess, that would automate the process and make it smoother. After all for users of jailbroken devices it doesn't really matter if apps will be launched with icons or via a manager of some kind. At least for me it wouldn't matter.

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    Hi, I updated the first post with various issues and a work around for iCloud or iTunes backing up.
    Next task is to try a USB stick and buy a larger SD card.
    Last edited by DC_Dave; 08-05-2013 at 05:57 AM.

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    I've been playing with the CCK and symlinks too! I've tested with both a microSD (using my microSD card reader and CCK's 30-pin-to-USB camera connector. Since I have an iPad 4, I also have to use a Lightning-to-30-pin adapter) and an SD card using CCK's SD card reader. Both cards are 4GB and both tests were successful. I've also tested an external HDD, powered externally, but it didn't work because it's formatted in NTFS, when iOS can only read FAT32 (and 16 as well I think, but not exFAT, which is used for SDXC card) and HFS+, which is also the file system used in Mac OS X. I've seen vids where people use an external HDD and it works fine, but they didn't use it to run apps from it (only used for importing vids and pics), so it still remains to be tested. I also tested a 32GB Sandisk USB stick, but it failed as it requires too much power. Maybe smaller (and simpler. Mine comes with a few softwares installed apparently, including encryption stuffs) sticks would work, but alternatively you could try to use a USB dual power cable. (That said, anything that requires an external power source is pointless to me as I want it to be portable and usable anywhere. I've been thinking about buying a battery though)

    I've tried 3 games, GTA Vice City, NFS Most Wanted and Holes and Balls. I was most interested in NFS since it's so huge and CPU intensive. I *think* the startup screens and loading times were a little longer than when you play the game the regular way, but I'm really not sure. Either way, the actual game runs perfectly well. No problem with the other games either.

    But I still have some issues. First, I haven't found a way to unmount properly (using iFile) once I've played a game from the SD card. I mean, I can mount it okay, browse the files in my SD, get the icons back if they had disappeared, and still unmount properly; but if I've run a game (even if I didn't actually play it), and try to unmount after that, I get an unmount error. Rebooting everytime you want to unmount properly works, but it's annoying. I personally simply unplug the CCK, and haven't had issues such as data loss/corruption so far. Plus, there isn't even an unmount/safely remove option on the iPad when you use the CCK the way it's supposed to be used (importing vids/pics), which seems to indicate iOS just doesn't mess with external storage devices when you're not transferring files or running things from it. So I think it's safe, but do it at your own risk.

    Still, does anyone know of a way to unmount properly everytime, even after playing a game, and without rebooting?

    Also, I failed to reproduce it, but at some point I simply couldn't get the icons back (even following DC_Dave's tutorial). Still had the data on either my card or the iPad itself, but there was no way to get the icons back; I had to delete the game completely and re-DL it from the cloud. It might happen again one day, and I wouldn't want to be stuck wherever I am with no internet connection and not be able to use my apps. Isn't there a way to either get icons back, OR launch apps in a different way, e.g. from iFile? I've even tried apps like ListLauncher, in conjunction with Spotlight, but the apps whose icons have disappeared don't show up there either. ALL THAT SAID, that issue of disappearing icons hasn't occured since then, and I've been playing with the CCK and apps for a few days now. Maybe I did something wrong, since I had just started and it was all a bit fuzzy.

    Quote Originally Posted by DC_Dave View Post
    To get the icon back, after reinserting the SD card, I will usually check with iFile to see if the SD card has mounted ok. Then goto settings, general, usage and scroll down the list of apps. You will find the apps on your SD card are listed there but are either blank or have no text. click on them to see the apps info and then respring. If they aren't there, using iFile, copy and paste any file to the SD card and try again.
    That is a great tip that was very useful to me! I'd just add that on my end, it isn't necessary to scroll down list of apps and see the info of the blank apps. I simply go to Usage and respring. Even the icons of the apps that are farther down below and that I can't actually see without scrolling down the list, are usually restored when I respring. Occasionally, they aren't, in which case I do have to scroll down the list. Still no need to see the info though!

    My next test will probably be a 32GB SDHC card, which AFAIK is the maximum storage capacity that would work for memory cards.



    EDIT: I've tried to launch apps that aren't games too: a musical tuner, the app from a TV channel where you can watch shows live, and Dailymotion (French YouTube). They all worked fine!

    Also, I was thinking that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a list of the apps you've transferred to your memory device, in Notes for instance. Just in case! If you have a lot of apps stored, you probably wouldn't notice if one of them suddenly disappeared... Just a random thought.

    A possible issue I've just thought of: how do the updates work for apps that are on your memory device? Does the App store still detect new updates available, and wouldn't it cause some kind of conflict if it tries to update an app that's not actually stored on the iPad?
    Last edited by kizolk; 08-29-2013 at 09:12 AM.

  7. #6
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    Hi, To keep a list of Apps which are on your SD card, keep them all together on one screen and take a screen shot. I have been waiting 3 weeks now for my App icons to disappear again. But at the moment they come back after reinserting the SD card and follow the above procedures. What I have been doing though, as my next test should they disappear again, is saving a copy of
    com.apple.mobile.installation.plist
    Which is at
    /var/mobile/Library/Caches
    Every time I change any apps on the screens (move, delete, update, install) and also when I plug in my SD card. As I suspect this plist has a good chance of bringing the icons back as it holds data on the Apps and their location. Anyway time will tell!
    I too will try an external USB drive with the USB Mount SBSettings Toggle and report back.
    Last edited by DC_Dave; 08-29-2013 at 10:57 AM.

  8. #7
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    Hi,

    I'm reasearching the same issue regarding icons disappearing.

    I have the problem very frequently, and Im thinking that it maybe because I recently did the jailbreak and im constantly installing tweaks.

    Some of my disappearing apps apparently doesnt show up in the usage list of apps and i dont know whats the best method to bring them back.

    Regards,
    Last edited by pkubik00; 09-02-2013 at 11:44 AM.

  9. #8
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    Hi, don't know if this helps with the loosing your icons problem, but it hasn't happened to me since early August.
    So here is a list of Cydia tweaks which were updated on my iPad over August. If you have any of them, make sure they are all updated to the latest versions and see how you get on.
    I do know however that Bluetooth Companion caused problems with iPad Bluetooth tethering via TetherMe until it was updated to the current version.
    Music Box
    PkgBackup
    Bluetooth Companion
    Gremlin Plugin Pack
    VideoPane
    AudioExplorer
    Car Mode
    And also iTunes was updated to version 11.0.5
    Last edited by DC_Dave; 09-15-2013 at 03:43 AM.

  10. #9
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    How to install an App on your iPad and then move it to your SD card to save space.

    Hi, i've been trying a few things to stop your icons from disappearing if the SD card is unplugged.
    First install the App.
    Now copy the appname.app folder to your SD card, not the full "hexadecimal named" app folder.
    Then goto into the appname.app folder on your SD card and copy all it's contents and paste the links back into the original appname.app folder EXCEPT for the following...
    (iFile will ask you to overwrite all these files with shortcut links)
    The files you don't want to overwrite are any...
    *.plist
    Icon*.png
    Default*.png
    PkgInfo
    appname

    Also the folders you don't want to overwrite with shortcut links are any...
    _CodeSignature
    *.lproj
    SC_Info

    Don't forget to eject the SD card with iFile before unplugging the SD card or the camera connection kit. You will also probably need to close any "SD card" apps which may be running before you can do this or any apps which may be accessing data on your SD card like videos or photos etc.

    Also, by leaving the Documents and Library folders on your iPad means that your game data/saves can be backed up with iTunes, iCloud or IconTool.

    DO REMEMBER TO TURN OFF iFile's TRASH CAN IF YOU PLAN TO DELETE LARGE FILES/FOLDERS FROM YOUR USB STICK AS THE TRASH CAN IS ON YOUR iPad AND IS ONLY AS BIG AS YOUR iPad's FREE MEMORY!
    Last edited by DC_Dave; 02-26-2014 at 09:19 AM.

  11. #10
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    How to install a large 1GB game to your SD card when you only have a few 100MB left on your iPad.

    First start iTunes on your PC/Mac and goto the iTunes Store and your Purchases. Select Apps and download the game you want.
    Rename that game from mygame.ipa to mygame.zip and extract the zip to a new folder on your SD card/USB stick called mygame
    We will now make a smaller version of mygame.ipa by replacing the larger files/folders with shortcut links to their originals.
    Plug in your SD card and camera connection kit into your iPad and open up iFile.
    Make a new folder called mygameSmall
    In mygameSmall, make a new folder called Payload and in Payload, make another folder called mygame.app
    Check the correct spelling/naming of mygame.app by looking in the mygame/Payload folder.
    Copy any files/folders which are in the mygame folder (except Payload) into the mygameSmall folder.
    Now go into the mygame/Payload/mygame.app folder and copy the following files to the mygameSmall/Payload/mygame.app folder...

    *.plist
    Icon*.png
    Default*.png
    PkgInfo
    mygame
    CodeResources (blue link if there)

    Also the following folders...
    _CodeSignature
    *.lproj
    SC_Info

    Now go back to the mygame/Payload/mygame.app folder and copy the remaining files and folders you didn't select before.
    This time we want to paste their shortcut links into the mygameSmall/Payload/mygame.app folder.
    After you are done, its a good idea to check that both mygame.app folders have the same number of files/folders in them.

    Now go into the mygameSmall folder and zip everything in there to mygame.zip
    Now rename the mygame.zip to mygame.ipa
    This new ipa is probably only 10 to 20MB and can be installed using Cydia app IPA Installer. The only problem you will have is the DRM checking on the iPad will have to be turned off. This can be done by installing App Sync and rebooting.

    Don't forget to eject the SD card with iFile before unplugging the SD card or the camera connection kit. You will also probably need to close any "SD card" apps which may be running before you can do this or any apps which may be accessing data on your SD card like videos or photos etc.

    Also, by leaving the Documents and Library folders on your iPad means that your game data/saves can be backed up with iTunes, iCloud or IconTool.
    You also don't loose the app icon when you unplug your SD card/USB stick.

    So I now have 10 of my purchased App Store games installed. They take up 9.8GB on my USB stick and only 170MB on my iPad. My iPad only had 680MB left before installing these games, the largest of which takes up 2.1GB

    DO REMEMBER TO TURN OFF iFile's TRASH CAN IF YOU PLAN TO DELETE LARGE FILES/FOLDERS FROM YOUR USB STICK AS THE TRASH CAN IS ON YOUR iPad AND IS ONLY AS BIG AS YOUR iPad's FREE MEMORY!
    Last edited by DC_Dave; 03-02-2014 at 05:38 AM.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kizolk View Post
    A possible issue I've just thought of: how do the updates work for apps that are on your memory device? Does the App store still detect new updates available, and wouldn't it cause some kind of conflict if it tries to update an app that's not actually stored on the iPad?
    Hi, AppInfo has just been updated to v1.6 and now has the option to turn off updates for individual apps.

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    Hi, thx DC_Dave for the tutorial! Very Helpful! just one question..i've put 5 very big games on my pendrive, 1gb each, everything work but i notice that it takes 50 sec to recognize the drive when connected (instead of 5 second if i put only an image on the pendrive) and so it takes also a lot of time starting the game, for example real racing 3 wants 1,30 minutes for the loading screen! anybodyelse has this problem? is there a way to speed up the reading? thx

  14. #13
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    Hi, you could try removing the DCIM folder from your pen drive if you have one. If installed it will trigger the photo app to scan for photos. But loading a large game does take longer this way as transfer speeds are slower.

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    thx for reply, i haven't a dcim folder however after the 50 sec for loading the pen drive, always pop up the image app don't know why. However i read that ios7.0.x is generally slower to read anything from camera connection kit respect ios6. I also read that apple fix this problem with ios 7.1 but of course we can't update..so i think maybe is possible a software fix to this problem

  16. #15
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    Hi, yes you are correct. It turns out that deleting the DCIM folder stopped the Photo app from starting on iOS6, but does not on iOS7.

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